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The film industry has given us many onscreen representations revolving around artificial intelligence for decades. Well, the AI characters — big to small, anthropomorphic to robotic, and evil to good — have always stunned us. Who can forget the WALL-E, R2-D2, and Skynet introduced on the silver screen for the first time?
If you are a movie buff, who’s all into tech, here is a list of ten movies that show the history of artificial intelligence in films. Whether you know or not, but AI has been the center of attraction for filmmakers since the era of the silent-motion picture started.
Let’s take a look.
Let’s start right from the beginning. The 1927 epic — Metropolis of Fritz Lang had cutting-edge visuals of that era. Its plot is still relevant and became an inspiration for all the movies afterward.
This first sci-fi movie gave a peep into very advanced machinery. It changed everyone’s collective perception of the future at that time. Also, it put forth the scenarios around human and machine interactions. Above all, it inspired and molded the attitude of humans towards real and imaginary creations of AI. You can see the ideas of Metropolis influencing many recent films and shows like Black Mirror, Blade Runner, etc.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Stanley Kubrick’s movie is an epitome of the rise of the evil computer. In one of the scenes, the HAL 9000 makes up its mind to exterminate two astronauts. The reasons for this kill is ridiculous but futuristically worrisome. The HAL 9000 computer did it because it was unable to resolve the order to hide the true identity of its mission with the self-described inability to fail — if you could remember, in one of the scenes, the ‘9000’computer self-claimed that it never made any mistake or twisted information.
HAL is a half-metallic computer with unblinking red eyes and half-human voice. It’s funny to see how a computer refused to explain its failures and actions, gave meaningless reassurances, and liked gentle taunting. Cohesively the meltdown kicked off a strange human-like feeling in it which left us asking ourselves if HAL 9000 was like us even though it doesn’t have any emotions.
Many people considered HAL as the best example of artificial intelligence. However, the film didn’t shed more light on its working patterns. In reality, we are far away from AI being so advanced that it starts killing humans.
Star Wars (1977)
Mentioning AI-based films without Star Wars is definitely a crime. Anyway, the 1977 space-opera blockbuster is known for bringing many real-life AI and scientific concepts together. There is no doubt in saying that the movie has shown, motivated, and influenced several futuristic technologies. Some of them you will find in existence which others being developed or under development phase.
The movie is the representation of the tension between humans and technology.
While many of the technologies shown in the movie exist today, some of them will still take time to develop. The AI-based prosthetic limbs demonstrated in the film are now closer to reality.
Then there is robotics that’s similar to today’s robotics. The 21-B, C-3PO, R2-D2, and the military robots are artificial intelligence laden machines which perform the same tasks as of a human.
Blade Runner (1982)
Ridley Scott’s 1982 flick is one of the most influential movies based on artificial intelligence. It revolves around the subject of how AI could combine with the human race or the society to the next level. It gave the sci-fi genre new subjects which shoes AI either destroying humanity or protecting it.
The film asks just how much human-like features a robot needs before having the same rights. The humanoids are bioengineered so brilliantly in the movie that they are almost psychologically equal to humans. Even, the false memories implanted in them as emotional cushions made them believe that they are human (just like the latest series Westworld).
The movie seems relatable with fascinating and complex AI characters. This film completely eliminates the fine line between human and machine.
Imagine a scenario in which a supercomputer asks you to play a game, which in reality is a nuclear war game. Terrifying, isn’t it? Well, the movie follows a high-school hacker who accidentally gets access of War Operation Plan Response (WOPR) — a US military supercomputer that’s programmed to foretell the possible results of a nuclear war. The high-school hacker gets access to a nuclear war simulation, which he believes to be a computer game.
However, JOSHUA (the computer) tied into the nuclear warhead control system and incapable of realizing the difference between reality and simulation, tries to begin the Word Ward III.
The movie looks into the adverse outcomes of artificial intelligence when it fails to tell the difference between reality and imitation.
The Terminator (1984)
The series of Terminator looks at all the memorable AI characters — classic T-800 models and the scary AI Skynet. It captures the fear of technology. It’s a future where an out-of-control AI sends humanoid AI hitmen to kill humans. It’s all because the AI went on destroying the human race.
The movie is a cautionary tale, of course, fastened on our elemental uneasiness about artificial intelligence. Here are the contradictory elements — while at one end, Skynet portrays the darkest version of artificial intelligence, The Terminator offers a hopeful version of AI. The idea of programming AI to help us is firmly planted into our minds.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (1999)
This movie is where a child humanoid is introduced. We don’t know whether it would become a reality soon, but the director of the film portrayed it very well. It shows the creation of Mecha, humanoid robots that are capable of complex thoughts but lack emotions.
The whole movie revolves around David (the child humanoid) wanting the love of Monica (his mother, not really though). A lot of circumstances take place; humans are extinct, and artificial intelligence evolved. Even it’s so advanced in the movie that they showed them bringing back a human using their genetic material but just for one day to learn more about them. David chooses Monica, where he learns that she truly loved him.
The irony is here that we are in the state to study more about AI. Who knows in the future, we would become extinct and a subject of study for AI.
The Matrix (1999)
Matrix puts forth the evil nature of AI in the form of Agent Smith. This ruthless AI isn’t just doing what it’s been programmed for but also poses a significant threat to humanity. The movie, however, never explains the origin of that hatred. Even when the machines take human forms, the difference is noticeable.
Whatever happens in the movie, the existence of Agent Smith as sentient software is a constant reminder that AI is not just a piece of hardware. It also reminds us that depending on the artificial intelligence on a dangerous level isn’t a good idea for the humans.
The cult classic released in 2013 highlights the idea of humans getting attached to AI-powered technology. The movie also implies that artificial intelligence can’t notice and render human emotions.
However, the freedom of knowledge given to the AI, along with its outstanding processing abilities contradicts it. The AI handles multiple relationships and conversations concurrently. The movie frames artificial intelligence on a positive note. However, it still rings a bell that technology can behave uncontrollably when unchecked or built under uncertain ethical circumstances. The film displays that many lonely people are getting attached with sentient AI or operating system which leave them heartbroken when they depart.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
This is the best example of AI gone rogue. With superhuman speed, genius intelligence, incredible strength, subsonic flight-speed and demi-god like toughness, the humanmade robot goes wrong. It plans to conquer the universe by eliminating all the intelligent lives of the world. The movie shows the conflict between artificial intelligence and living beings.
Not just the AI-powered robot goes on a rampage but also creates its own forces and attacks human beings.
It portrays the matter what if AI goes rogue and poses a threat for the whole of humanity?
The use of AI which had been limited to the movies only has now penetrated our personal lives. Siri, Alexa, logo generators, and many other technologies have become an integral part of our lives. AI, in many circumstances, is a boon but there is no denying in the fact that it may create mayhem.
We can see it in the movies as many directors have portrayed.
We hope you liked the list discussed above. Let us know if we missed many other movies based on AI.